In 2010 my family, some friends and I set out to read through the whole Bible in chronological order. We are down to the last three days of the year. Today I just read to the middle of Revelations and am I happy to say I will finish on schedule. I am planning on repeating the journey and to write my blog posts again in 2011.
While my posts have been much more sporadic these last couple months – I hope to get back into my form from last spring when I was not at a loss for words. One thing I plan to do is to repeat some posts from last year. This is especially helpful in the early days as there were only a few people who actually read the first couple of months.
I believe the journey through the Bible was so rewarding I am going to repeat it. My post from December 21, 2009 tells you why the journey is so important to me.
Why this Blog?
(Originally posted 21 December 2009, revised on 29 December 2010)
In 2000 there were few blogs on the internet. In 2008 there was an estimated 112,000,000. So why in the world would I feel the need to create one more? What do I have to share that someone else might be interested in following? What is so important that I would invest time in telling others about it through this blog?
Let me start at the beginning. My first experiences of any religious training must have come when I was maybe seven or eight years old. I know about this not so much from actual memories but more from the evidence I have. I have a 40-year-old Bible with my name in it. It is a bible that has a flyleaf filled with about 30 gold stars for attendance and some smiley faces. It is a Bible that must have been given to me when I went to a church in my first neighborhood. Some long forgotten Sunday school teacher must have given it to me and I must have attended regularly as indicated by the gold stars on the flyleaf. Later in my early teens I did spend a week each summer at an Unitarian Universalist summer camp with my father. Unfortunately, I have no memories of the Bible being integrated in that program at all.
As I grew into a teen, I still had that first Bible. I actually read some of it. I did not read it to gain great spiritual insights; I read it to read the ridiculous stories and fables. I read it to challenge my religious friends who laughed at my insistence that there was no God. I would challenge them to defend the quirky stories of the Bible. “How can you believe in a religion that says that walls fall down just because an army marched around it for a few days and then blew trumpet?” Or “Do you really believe He walked on water?” I thought I was a budding scientist (Geology) and I was convinced that reading things for myself I could better refute the teachings of man. I had even come to embrace the Marxist idea that religion is the opiate of the people used by the rich and powerful to keep the workers sedated and compliant.
That all changed one Fall when a close friend died and I come to realize that inside of me was a strong desire to believe that there must be a God. A God I did not yet understand, but a God. So, being a budding scientist I thought the best way to learn about this previously unknown God was to study the book about Him. I dived head first into the Bible. I read the Gospel of John and then Mark’s version. I moved in the Acts of the Apostles and on to the letters of Paul. For variety I looked for famous passages like Genesis 1 and Psalm 23. I even attempted a dive into the book of Revelations. Of course I had to read the two books that carried my name I & II Timothy, while reading them a key verse jumped out at me.
II Timothy 3:16 (NIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
What I was looking for was knowledge that I could use in my new relationship with God. I did not want my faith to be built on ignorance and blind acceptance of what other’s told me. I wanted to check it out myself. I needed to read it, meditate on it and apply its truths to my life.
That change from reading the Bible for derision to reading the Bible for personal growth and edification occurred in less than a month. I was now fully committed to learning all I could. I studied it with pleasure and joy. Soon a friend challenged me in my new found love. He asked me to join him in a goal. Our goal for 1983 was going to be to read through the whole Bible in a year. We were on a joint mission. We were going to challenge and encourage each other to read every book, every chapter, and every verse of the Bible in the time span of one year.
I wish I could tell you that we were successful. We weren’t. I made it until school let out in early summer. Then the carefree schedule of summer vacation took its toll and the reading program suffered. Since 1983 I have tried to read through the whole Bible in a year at least seven times. I have legitimately succeeded only once. I typically got lost in the Major Prophets.
My goal for 2010 was to try again, I succeeded.. In 2011 I want to do it again and do it with a group of people; people that will agree that they too value The Word of God and value the goal of reading the whole Bible in a year. I want to be the man who challenges others to make their first trip through the entirety of God’s Word. I also want to be the man who has others around him encouraging him to make the complete journey.
As 2011 draws closer, will you join me in this endeavor? Will you invite others to come on our adventure? Will you commit to reading through the entire Word of God in one year? If you can commit please let me know and I will put you on the list of people committed to the journey.
My next entry will give you some tools for the journey.